Cougars Meet the Bears

Kim Yeoman holding a young bear, with Dustin Gabriel, Jeremy Gillespie, Brett Cooper, Kayle Buchannon, and Eric Wat­terson[Integrative Biology] Kim Yeoman (Dayton, NV) wanted to participate in a bear study, but because she has spina bifida, she knew she couldn't handle the mountainous terrain in her wheelchair. Impressed by her enthusiasm, Professor Hal Black asked the Cougars football team to take her up the mountain to see the bears. Players Dustin Gabriel, Jeremy Gillespie, Brett Cooper, Kayle Buchannon, and Eric Wat­terson volunteered.

Gabriel and his teammates met Yeoman where the research group had located a bear radio signal. With a helmet in place, the players strapped Yeoman into a rescue sled, which they pulled through the snow, and lifted over rough terrain to the den. When research assistant Josh Heward emerged from the den with a tran­quilized 24-pound yearling black bear and placed it in Yeoman's lap, she said, grinning, "This is awesome, amazing."

"We're excited she had this experience," said Dr. Black. "It might encour­age others to not be timid and to look for opportunities to be involved."

Study Improves Watershed Use

Matt Pyne[Integrative Biology] Matt Pyne (Fruit Heights, UT) works on a watershed proj­ect funded by the U.S. For­est Service. Management of watershed resources will become easier when they are classified according to the project's findings. Pyne collected algae, insects, and fish from 138 sites in 16 dif­ferent watersheds in Wyo­ming. Once the watersheds are grouped, researchers can find which fish do bet­ter in each watershed class.

"The theory is that large-scale watershed character­istics will help determine which organisms are going to live there and which are not," said Pyne. "If these new classifications work, the Forest Service will be able to manage them in groups instead of as indi­vidual watersheds."

Pyne will earn his master's degree in December, 2005 and move on to a Ph.D. program in ecology.

Genetic Markers Find Genes

[Plant & Animal Science] Marc Ricks (Provo, UT) had the performance, motivation, and enthu­siasm to set him apart as a top researcher among undergraduate students. He helped develop a genetic map of Chenopo­dium quinoa using molec­ular markers. His work was published in a professional journal.

In Fall 2003, Ricks joined professor Rick Jellen's research group as a gradu­ate student. He helped develop an analytical assay to quantify saponin (soap-like) compounds in quinoa seeds using HPLC. This allowed him to use genetic markers to identify the location of genes con­trolling the deposition of saponin in several segre­gating populations. Ricks has been offered M.D./ Ph.D. programs at several top universities.

Andean Crop Genes Studied

Lauren Pitt[Plant and Animal Science] Lauren Pitt (Orem, UT) is working as a research assistant on a project to identify genes encoding seed storage proteins in the Andean crop plant quinoa. The study will lead to a bet­ter understanding of the mechanisms responsible for high protein levels in quinoa seeds.

Pitt gained valuable research experience while working as an intern at the Danforth Plant Research Laboratory in St. Louis, MO in 2004, which helps her provide leadership to undergraduate researchers in the plant genetics and biotechnology laboratory at BYU.

Pitt will graduate in June 2006 and has aspirations of pursuing an advanced degree in plant biochem­istry.

Desire Fuels Dreams

Hunter Stott[Microbiology] Hunter Stott (Salt Lake City, UT) likes to keep in shape—you may see him reading his scriptures as he flies by on his bicycle. He believes neither physi­cal nor spiritual health should be neglected. That's why he's attending BYU.

Stott returned from his mission with a desire to improve health care. "I learned about some seri­ous health concerns, and have a better idea of how beneficial changes can be. I'd like to start clinics, busi­nesses, and city planning in underdeveloped areas and bring them up to speed on technical advances."

" 'If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work,' " Stott quotes from D&C 4:3. "You don't have to wait for somebody to tell you what to do."

Student Earns Top Fellowship

Sean Taylor[Integrative Biology] Sean Taylor (Aiken, SC) began his research experience in 2000 in the BYU DNA Sequencing Center. He quickly learned the techni­cal skills of DNA sequenc­ing which helped optimize new chemistries and pro­tocols still used in the cen­ter. He then transferred to the Whiting lab to focus on insect genome evolution.

His research on the genetic history of the robberfly and the genetics of the flea visual system were presented at national and international confer­ences and later published. His flea research earned a first place award over the research of compet­ing doctoral students. The culmination of Taylor's experience was receiving the prestigious Director's Fellowship from Yale Uni­versity ($185,000), which covers the entire cost of his graduate education in the top program in the country. He believes his extensive undergraduate mentor­ing experience gave him an advantage over other graduate students in his program.

DNA Makes Relationships

Jona­than Osborne[Integrative Biology] Jona­than Osborne (Newberg, OR) focused on insect systematics in Dr. Michael Whiting's lab. "We amplify and sequence DNA to use genes combined with morphology to establish relationships among insect groups," said Osborne. He collaborated with Luke Jacobus of Purdue Univer­sity who does morphology on mayflies. "I did the DNA work," said Osborne. "I included the collection of 50 specimens, selected the genes to use, and amplified each gene on every speci­men separately." Osborne also co-authored a manu­script for publication.

Mentoring Opens Doors

Bradley Taylor[Nutrition, Dietetics, & Food Science] As the Technical Business Manager of the Food Processors Asso­ciation, a subsidiary of the Food Products Associa­tion), Bradley Taylor, Ph.D. (Washington, D.C.) directs training and research pro­grams. He received his B.S. from BYU in 1999 and his Ph.D. from Utah State University. At BYU, Taylor worked in the quality and sensory labs, and partici­pated in the college bowl and dairy judging teams.

"I was mentored predomi­nately by Dr. Lynn Ogden," said Taylor, "and still look to him for collaboration between BYU and the FPA and its member compa­nies. He provided opportu­nities to work in laboratory settings and discuss the design, execution, and results of experiments. He encouraged me to perform at a higher level of learning and apply the theories dis­cussed in the classroom to real world processes."

"Even while I was in the graduate program at USU, Dr. Ogden corresponded with me periodically to monitor my research activi­ties. I was unrefined when I began to work in his labo­ratory, but he saw potential and pointed me to oppor­tunities that have subse­quently shaped my life."

New Degreed Program Produces First Graduate

[Physiological & Developmental Biology] Tyler Prestwich was the first student to graduate with a degree in physiology and developmental biology, a new program of study in the College of Biology and Agriculture. As part of his program, Prestwich participated in mentored research studying early events in embryonic development.

In the research lab of Dr. Michael Stark, Prestwich chose to focus on a project aimed at understanding the cellular and molecular processes that govern how the vertebrate body takes shape. He discovered that the timing of certain develop­mental processes influences key components of body shape and form, such as the number of vertebrae in the spine. He had the opportunity to travel to several regional, national, and international meetings to present his findings. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. degree at the University of Michigan. By working closely with Dr. Stark, Prestwich gained the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in his chosen career path. 14 BYU BioAg Magazine - Spring 2005